Seberang |Kuala Sepetang
An island like no others
TAIPING, Perak: Seberang is a small island that is only about 40 acres in size. It
is separated from Kuala Sepetang by a hundred-metre wide river.
Seberang is a privately owned island founded about a hundred years ago.
The island is surrounded by marshlands and mangrove swamps and the residents there
only live along the coast.
There are 179 households with a population of more than a thousand people in
Seberang. Majority of the residents are fishermen.
Even though the island is small in size, it is well equipped with sundry shops,
tea houses and temples but no schools.
Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily
There is only a concrete road that is one kilometre long on the island, and the
only vehicles running on the island are bicycles.
Local residents and students have to park their bicycles on the road near the
jetty and then travel to Kuala Sepetang on sampan.
Former housing and local government minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan proposed to
build a bridge over the river to connect Seberang to Kuala Sepetang when he visited the island in 2009, but the
proposal was later abandoned.
As sampan is the only mode of transport for local residents to travel to the
mainland, they have to wait for the flood-tide in order to carry large objects such as coffins to Kuala
24-hour Sampan Service
The only mode of transport to Kuala Sepetang is a 10-foot long sampan. In the
past, the sampan was paddled by people while today the boat has become motorised and can therefore travel faster.
The cost for each trip is only 10 sen and the service is provided round the clock regardless of the
69-year-old Xie Yuan Xin has been carrying residents cross the river to the
mainland for the past few decades. He told Sin Chew
Daily that he raised eight of his children with the 10 sen he had
collected from each of his passengers.
He had no idea since when the service had been started but said that the job had
been passed down to him by his father.
Xie earns only about RM30 a day as, he does not collect the fares from students
Nevertheless, he is still quite fond of this job as it could help support his
family and offer him a pertty steady income. He claimed that he had so far not had any accident while carrying his
Exodus of Young Residents
As Seberang is tiny with a very small population, commercial activities are hard
to be developed there. The island is now facing the severe problem of the outflow of young people, just like any
other small fishing villages.
Compared to Kampung Pulau Pasir Hitam and Kuala Sangga about 30-minute boat ride
away from Kuala Sepetang, Seberang has been more fortunate in that it is provided with water and electricity
supplies. (Translated by LIM LIY EE/Sin Chew Daily)